GAR 106 | Cycle Of Lives

 

In addition to being an author, coach and consultant, David is an amazing endurance athlete, a financial services professional, and a public speaker who applies the lessons he has learned in his life to enrich and inspire others.

David’s beautifully written and incredibly moving new book is titled Cycle of Lives – 15 People’s Stories, 5000 Miles, and a Journey Through the Emotional Chaos of Cancer. It portrays 15 individual cancer stories as it also shares David’s grueling journey riding his bike 5000 miles coast to coast, meeting each of the individuals featured in his book in person along the way. If you or someone you care about is going through cancer or some other major trauma, this thought-provoking collection of astonishing, uplifting stories can surely help you and inspire you.

 

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:

  • What motivated David to begin his 5000-mile coast-to-coast cycling project.
  • The elite athlete who had to reckon with his all-star body letting him down and what having cancer taught him from that experience.
  • The man who, along with his wife, was relieved that she got cancer, and why.
  • The female medical oncologist who cares as much about her patients as she cares for them, and how caring for people with cancer has affected her perspective on life.

 

SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS DAVID:

  • What are the differing relationships to cancer those you interviewed had?
  • What is the value of both self-reliance and depending on others?
  • Where were you emotionally about both your sister June and your family at the end of your trip?

Listen to the podcast here

 

David Richman: Author, Coach, Consultant

 

 

 

 

 

I’m absolutely delighted to have this opportunity to interview Author, Coach, and Consultant David Richman, who will be speaking to us from Henderson, Nevada. In addition to being an Author, Coach, and Consultant, David is an endurance athlete, a financial services professional, and a public speaker who applies the lessons he has learned in his life to enrich and inspire others.

For example, as a former sedentary, overweight smoker, David discovered that he needed to focus not on what others wanted out of him but on what he wanted out of life. In his first book, Winning in the Middle of the Pack: Realizing True Success in Business and in Life, David discussed how to get more out of ourselves than we ever imagined.

A consummate endurance athlete, he has completed over 50 triathlons, including fifteen IRONMAN distance triathlons. An IRONMAN triathlon encompasses a 2.5-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile run. He has also completed more than 50 runs longer than marathon distance, including four consecutive marathons, totaling 104 miles and a 45-day 4,700 miles solo bike ride across the country.

David’s beautifully written an incredibly moving second book titled Cycle of Lives: 15 People’s Stories, 5,000 Miles, and a Journey Through the Emotional Chaos of Cancer. It portrays fifteen individual cancer stories as it also shares David’s grueling journey riding his bike for 5,000 miles coast to coast, meeting each of the individuals featured in his book in person along the way.

If you or someone you care about is going through cancer or some other major trauma, this thought-provoking collection of astonishing stories can surely help you and inspire you. David was raised in Southern California and splits his time between San Diego and Las Vegas. He remarried. His wife Erin is a successful attorney, and he has twins. This is no doubt going to be a remarkable and touching interview with a very remarkable man. I have many questions for him.

David, a warm and heartfelt welcome to the show.

Thank you, Irene. I’m very excited to talk with you. Thank you for having me.

First of all, you’re amazing. Thank you. Let’s start with this question, David. Your cycle trip started as a fundraiser to honor your cherished sister, June. Please tell us about your family dynamic, your relationship with June, and where you were emotionally about June at the beginning of the trip.

Thank you again for having me, Irene. When I set out to do the bike ride, I had already talked to many people in anticipation of having them potentially be in the book, but then I came down to the fifteen that were going to be in there. I said I’m going to put this plan together to connect them because I wanted to connect all these stories of trauma, grief, hope, and inspiration. What better way to connect with them than to go see them all since I had been talking to them for a while?

I was ready emotionally to go on this quest to go see what these people were like in person since I had been talking to them for so long, for 2 or 3 years, sometimes on the phone. I got to know them so intimately. On the one hand, I was super excited, and on the other hand, to the point of your question, I was interested in taking the time to explore the emotional side of what my journey had gone through with my sister. My family dynamics are very odd, like most peoples are. I had a rather old father and a very young mother. I was not close to either one. Who I was close to was my sister and I had lost her to cancer several years before.

Was it brain cancer, David?

It was brain cancer. She had a husband, two young kids, a bunch of friends, and a wonderful, vibrant life that got cut short. When I was seeing what she was going through and the people that it brought me an awareness of it. You become aware of different things at different times in your life. I became aware of this dynamic of people not dealing with their grief, not understanding how to deal with the emotional side of the trauma that they’re going through or the emotional side of the trauma that others are going through. Although I explored that with a bunch of other people when I went for the bike ride, I knew that I was going to have to explore that with myself. I felt like the bike ride was going to give me the perfect vehicle with which to go down that path of how I’m dealing with my own grief and emotions.

Are you saying that you were not that in touch yet with your grief over your sister or you hadn’t sorted it out yet?

I hadn’t sorted it out yet. Year after year, I’d done a fundraiser always around an endurance athletic event. I talked about her and I was jealous, but the weird dynamic was that for some reason, her family, her husband, kids, and their big wonderful extended family, I wasn’t interacting with them. They weren’t interacting with me. For whatever reason, they weren’t ready to do that. I didn’t have family on my own other than my kids. I didn’t have any childhood friends that had known us both, so I was out there on an island by myself.

You were isolated that way.

Although it was in my head, as you said, I hadn’t processed it. I hadn’t come to terms with it. I hadn’t manifested all of the different aspects of it. I felt like I needed to force myself to do that.

I’m sure your inspiration to write the book centered on what you’d gone through with your sister for yourself and there were other reasons too. What led you to do this project?

One of the benefits that I had going through this with my sister was we had plenty of chances to talk.

How long was she sick, David?

She was sick for about four years. I remember parts of it vividly and other parts I don’t remember that well. It’s not like we lived in the same house or anything. She had her family, friends, job, and back and forth to healthcare. I had my kids and went back and forth to see her in our lives and whatever. We had a lot of interaction, but we did a lot of talking.

I think we both knew that we were uniquely tied together to our pasts with no other strings there because we didn’t have relationships with extended family or friends from childhood. We knew we were going to lose that, and I think that brought us closer together to be able to talk about these things. I was lucky enough that I didn’t have these conversations with her. I was able to navigate some of the heavy issues or understand some of the heavy issues.

You can imagine somebody saying the thing I’m going to miss is watching my kids grow up, but until you talk to somebody about that who’s going through the prospect of not being able to do that, then you don’t know what it’s like. I knew a little bit of that from her, and she was very brave and very open with me to talk about these things.

Until you talk to somebody who's going through the same thing, then you don't really know what it's like. Share on X

I didn’t personally take it much beyond that, and then I noticed that when I was doing these events and I was coming into contact with a tremendous amount of people, survivors, loved ones, professionals, family members, friends, and coworkers or whatever, that people were good at talking about the tasks around cancer. How do I navigate my job? How do I get my kids some extra care while I’m going to chemo or whatever?

However, they weren’t really good at talking about emotions. I saw that over and over again and I said, “If I could find these dynamic, interesting, and evocative stories and the people would allow me to get super deep into their stories so that I could tell them, then maybe we might be able to be more equipped. We will have better tools to be able to deal with the emotional side.” It’s a pretty lofty goal to say, “I’m going to try to help spur these conversations,” but every step along the way, Irene, I got reinforced by the thought that people don’t know how to deal with that emotional side.

How long was it between her passing and you starting to write the book?

It was probably about 6 or 7 years or maybe a tiny bit longer. I had done an event like the year that she passed, the following year, and a couple of years. I said, “I got to start doing something about this that’s a little bit more than just doing an event and raising some money and trying to keep her memory alive or feeling like I’m honoring her memory,” or whatever the heck was going on. It was about 6 or 8 years. It was enough time, but not like 30 years later.

You had that five-year benchmark that they talk about to process a lot, but there was still more to go, obviously. I want everyone to know that we’re talking about the part of the book where David focuses on all these amazing stories of cancer, but there’s another sidebar to this book for anyone who is an athlete or a cycler or a marathon runner or whatever.

David’s story of his actual trip and what he went through finding each of these interviews is a whole other sidebar that goes with his story, but it’s fascinating all on its own. There’s so much richness that you can get in many ways from this story. David, how did you choose them? What are the different relationships to cancer for those you interviewed because they weren’t just cancer survivors? What kinds of questions did you ask each of your interviewees?

How did I get the people, Irene? I asked around. I asked friends. I asked my fiancée at the time, my now wife. I talked to people at work. I cold-called cancer centers. I said, “This is my project. Do you know anybody interesting?” Once I had a group of people that I could talk to, what I wanted to do was cover a spectrum.

I didn’t want all young people, all old people, or a specific type of cancer. I wanted people that are like your brotherhood who had cancer five times and survived. Some people were one and done and it was like nothing to them. People who encountered it when they were young or when they were old. Also, people who had a wide range of emotions. People who had varying and very evocative and interesting traumas that had happened in their lives prior to encountering cancer.

It was so that when people read these stories and when they heard where people had come from, they might be able to better identify with them. The one mistake that I’ve made in this is not a book about cancer. It’s more of a book about how to talk to people that are going through trauma. It just happens to be about cancer.

I don’t think that’s a mistake. I think that’s a wonderful aspect of your book.

The fact that I didn’t mention it enough and I’ve had so much feedback and people go, “I thought I was going to read the book and it’s going to be so heavy,” but it’s inspirational. It’s hopeful. I could probably do a better job of that because it’s a heavy book, but it’s not a depressing book. It doesn’t bring you down.

How I got them to talk to me or what kind of questions I asked, Irene, is I said, “We have to get to the essence of you and what happened in your life to form the way that you have dealt with cancer as a caregiver, as a patient, as a survivor, or as a loved one. If you were abused as a child, that would have an effect on how you deal with, or abandoned at the altar, that would affect how you would deal with it.

GAR 106 | Cycle Of Lives

Cycle Of Lives: We have to get to the essence of you and what happened in your life to form the way that you have dealt with cancer as a caregiver, as a patient, as a survivor, or as a loved one.

 

There were these crazy amounts of digging I had to deal with people to understand who they were prior to when they encountered cancer. As they went through their cancer journey as patients, loved ones, friends, survivors, caregivers, or whatever, how did their emotional journey go in the context of these bigger issues that were behind them? It’s because I thought that’s where we could identify and connect with people.

I asked them 1,000 questions, but the most important one was, “Would you let me ask you questions that nobody else has asked you or that you maybe have been unwilling or unable to answer before?” If the answer was a little hesitancy, I had to move on. People had to allow me to go super deep and rediscover a lot because of it.

I’ll bet some of your questions got helped some of these people to process further, too. You’ve got some great stories about people who you wrote about in the book. I’ve chosen three. Tell us first about Rick, the elite athlete who had to reckon with his all-star body finally letting him down, which is an issue so many of us grapple with when it comes to our aging bodies. How did you connect with Rick? How did his story of cancer motivate him to let go of his need to control? That’s a lesson in any scenario. How did that turn into gratitude for Rick?

Don’t you know more than anybody that you cannot control life, not even for a minute like, “I feel like I’m out of control?” No kidding. Once you realize that, then all things are good because you’re not in control. This Olympic-caliber athlete was so confident in his ability to handle life that he didn’t even take much mentorship, even from coaches or whatever. He was the king of his domain.

What kind of athletics did he do?

He was a world-class runner, cyclist, and triathlete.

He was a man after your own heart.

Yeah, exactly. That’s why I tracked him down. I knew he had had prostate cancer and that it came back. He had had it at different points in his life. I knew a little bit about his story because he was a public figure. I said, “I got to figure out, if you’re so in control and if you’re forced to lose control, where do you go? What do you do?” It was a tough journey for him because he had to admit that he wasn’t as strong as he was. He had to admit that he was mortal and frail.

However, he had to also rely on his strength and his belief in himself. It’s a crazy dynamic. How do you know you can handle what you can handle until you have the confidence to know you can handle it and you’re tested? It’s a concept that everybody can understand. That’s the main thrust of what we discovered together.

When I read his story, he said that all that he learned turned into gratitude for him.

It did. For him, he had a bit of a religious awakening. One of his very few mentors introduced him to God and he developed some faith. He realized that there was a power stronger than him that he could give into and not feel bad about himself. He could feel better about himself. That was number one. Number two is he could determine that people could love him, his second wife, for who he was and not the things that he did.

When you can be yourself and be loved and not have to be something else, that’s a way to have gratitude. I think the third thing that he realized is that he became comfortable with the fact that he wasn’t immortal. He used to be afraid of failing. Once he realized that life isn’t about crossing that finish line, it’s about getting to wherever all the finish lines are, he was able to be grateful for what he had gone through and the difficult times. Also, the pluses and the minuses in his life and just sit back and realize, “This is good. Life is good.”

GAR 106 | Cycle Of Lives

Cycle Of Lives: When you can be yourself and be loved and not have to be something else, you can have gratitude.

 

That’s so important. It’s because I think a lot of people learn those lessons with different roots to them, but I found that when I was reading these stories, I felt gratitude too because I would read these stories and go, “Look at what this person came through to a happy ending and look at what he did.” I think reading your book helps a person to say, “I’m going through all kinds of stuff, but if this person could make it through this, there’s hope for me. I can make it through too.”

That’s a great observation. One of the biggest lessons I learned from this is that we all know you never know what people are going through. I know we all know that and I know we all say it, but to know that you have no idea what people are going through and what they might have gone through 5 minutes ago, 5 years ago, or 50 years ago that might be having a profound effect on the way that they are right now at this moment.

It’s a humbling thing to understand a wider perspective on that thought. People go through a lot. What was interesting was that each person told me, “I don’t know why you want to talk to me. My story’s not that interesting.” You then get into it and say, “That’s the most interesting story I’ve ever heard,” but people are only living their lives. They don’t know what’s interesting or not interesting about them because they’re just them. They’re just doing what they do. However, when you’ve tried to put yourself into somebody else’s shoes to see what they’ve gone through, that’s where the real growth and learning come from.

Real growth and learning come when you try to put yourself into somebody else's shoes to see what they've gone through. Share on X

On that note, tell us about Neil, who lost his wife of 30 years to cancer. She left him with five children to raise. How did you connect with Neil and how does supporting his wife’s journey through cancer bring him both grief and relief?

That’s a remarkable story. I met them through a friend when she was still alive. I asked if they wanted to be a part of the project and they declined. They were going through too much. About a year and a half later, I got a call from my friend who said that his wife had died and that he might be in a position to talk to me again.

What type of cancer did she have?

She had brain cancer as well, a glioblastoma that took her very quickly. What was remarkable about that story is that the positive that was taken out of her diagnosis is shocking. It’s still shocking to me. I almost felt bad when I tell people that she smiled when she heard that she had a grapefruit-size tumor in her brain and that she was grateful for it. People go, “That’s not even remotely possible.”

When I tell them the whole story, they go, “That makes absolute sense.” How in the world could you imagine that somebody could be grateful for that kind of news? If you knew their whole story, you would understand it and then you would go, “I don’t know what people are going through.” People will read the book or they won’t, but in a nutshell, they have become so angry at each other. They were fighting so much and had this wonderful life that was being torn apart by what was to her an ever-continuing decline in emotional and mental health.

It got so bad that, in a moment of clarity, she looked at her husband and said, “You need to commit me. I need to be committed. It’s me. I’m completely crazy and I need to figure out what’s going on.” She thought that she was at the end of their life or at the end of the road of their life together. They had made it through losing a baby. They had raised or were in the process of raising their kids. They had done these wonderful and traumatic things and it was coming to an end because she was going crazy.

It was the tumor that probably was pressing on her brain. It was teaching her.

He got a call from the admitting physician who had done the series of tests they do when you get committed to a mental institution. They called him up and said, “You need to get down here right now. We’ve amassed a team. We have to perform emergency surgery on your wife. She’s got a Grade 2 tumor in her head.” He raced to the mental hospital at 3:00 in the morning and grabbed her hand. She looked at him like, “What’s going on?” He told her what the doctor had said. She smiled and said, “Thank God, it’s not me.”

She knew she wasn’t mentally ill. She was sick.

The relief came from the fact that their love, experiences, and life together were as real and deep and as permanent as they had both hoped it would have been before this kind of decline. That decline was not based on a loss of their love or her going crazy or him pushing her away. It wasn’t any of that. It was cancer.

I could understand how he grieved her and I also understand the relief that she was out of her problem, out of her issue, out of her pain.

Nobody’s going to die happy in this instance, but I think that she had some peace to it and knowing that she was going to die, they worked on that. It is a touching story.

That’s why I chose it. It’s a beautiful story and it’s a love story too. Now, please tell us about Dr. Marleen Meyers, the medical oncologist who cares as much about her patients as she cares for them. How does she deal with delivering a terminal diagnosis and how has caring for people with cancer affected her perspective on life? His story is amazing, David.

Thank you. I know I put it either last or next to last. I put it at the end for a reason because I think that it’s important for all of us to know that if we ever do come to a point where we’re a patient that needs the care of a physician, we have to learn that physicians are going through things too.

I hear a lot of times people complain that a physician is like wood. They wish they had more of a bedside manner and all of that. She sounds like the antithesis of that.

She does. Her story is super interesting, and the reason, Irene, that I was able to be so excited to bring her story was because when I had one of my first conversations with her, I said, “Dr. Meyers, I need to ask you things that you don’t talk to your husband about.” She goes, “Yeah, that’s fine because he’s a very successful man. We don’t talk about our work at that deep level.” I said, “Okay, good.” At least things you don’t talk to your girlfriends about. She said, “What? We don’t talk about our problems and our work issues because we go to the museum, we go on hikes, we do this, we do that.”

I said, “We have to talk about things that you don’t talk to your peers about.” She started laughing and she said, “I’m a woman doctor. Do you think I talked about emotions?” I said, “Who have you talked to about what you’ve gone through being an oncologist for 40 years?” She says, “Besides you.” I went, “There’s got to be some story there.”

I’m not going to make it simple, but the storyline is simple to understand and that is that when she started out as an oncologist and she would see somebody, they would help with their own diagnoses. “I know you’re telling me it’s breast cancer, but I’m going to eat better. I’m going to sleep better. I’m going to take the stress out of my life. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that.”

She would say, “Yes. Come back to me when you’re ready,” and whatever. She marries and she has a wonderful daughter. She has a great life. She builds great practice. She has all this wonderful stuff happen in her life, and now, she’s to the point where she’s got a lot of experience. She knows a lot about cancer wellness survivorship. She’s one of the best.

Somebody comes to her and says, “I know you gave me that diagnosis, but I’m going to rest better. I’m going to take this trauma out of my life. I’m going to sleep better and eat better. She’s like, “No, I won’t see you. You’re going to let me take care of you the way you need to, or I can’t see you. That’s because I know that I can make your life better. I might be able to cure you. I might be able to lengthen your life, but I can’t waste any time because you’re going to miss out on all of this wonderful stuff, and now I know that.” I love the idea of her being so confident in her knowledge and desperate to help people to prevent them from missing out on the long life and the wonderful memories that they could have, whereas she didn’t have that perspective early on in her life.

She became very empowered.

She has a wonderful story. She overcame some really difficult things in her childhood as well that I thought were spectacular and spoke to why she cares so much about other people. It’s a wonderful story to learn.

It’s another story of you don’t even know what’s going on for your doctor when they’re delivering whatever. You and your book talk about the value of both self-reliance and depending on others. Do you want to tell us a little about that?

If you’re running a marathon, nobody’s moving your legs but you, so you got to have some amount of self-reliance, but there are aid stations along the way. If you’re not willing to take help from people, then you can’t continue to empower yourself. I did run into so many trials and tribulations on that bike ride and it was funny that when I was in trouble and I needed help, usually, there was somebody there.

Now, you’re talking my language with my story.

Exactly, but then there wouldn’t be anybody there at other times and when trouble came, I was like, “I’m not going to give into it.” I think that there are lessons that we can learn when you have people that are caring about you and want to help you and things become difficult. You need to rely on them. When you know that you can’t rely on somebody at a particular time or through a particular instance, then don’t make that a negative. Turn inward and rely on yourself because you know you will be a thousand times stronger.

In both instances, when you don’t have a support network and you got to get through something tough, you’ll be 1,000 times stronger. When you have a support network and you’re able to give in, you’ll find a thousand times more strength than that. It’s this weird thing that you got to figure out how I know I’m going to do something. Also, how can I accept help? Those are hard concepts for me.

For many people, it’s very hard. It’s not a black-and-white world. You had to learn to be able to swim with both.

Both are great and both are very difficult. How am I ever going to do this? How am I ever going to let other people help me do this because I don’t want to look weak or I don’t want to burden them? Also, I don’t want to feel guilty or that they don’t care about me and all the millions of other things that go through our heads that if you have the strength to give in to people, it will make you stronger. If you believe in yourself, that makes you stronger too. It’s this weird thing, but I tried it through storytelling and relaying some of the stories of people that I met along the way. I try to give some specific examples of both sides of that equation to have people go, “I understand what you’re saying.”

GAR 106 | Cycle Of Lives

Cycle Of Lives: If you have the strength to give in to people, it will make you stronger.

 

Tell us about your friend Jerry and his family. Also, how his family drew your attention to the need to form more heart-centered and meaningful connections with the people around us by talking about the emotional aspects of cancer? Also, the traumas people endure not only lead people to start healing, but my bottom line, also helps people to heal. Jerry had a great story about that.

He had a great story and he’s a good friend. It was a week and a half into it, Irene, and each day, I was reinforced with the thought that this project is going to have a positive effect on people because I’m continually coming up against this, “I don’t know how to deal with the emotional side of it.” It was becoming more and more reinforced.

Jerry says to me, “You’re coming through New Mexico. I want you to meet my family. They want to take you to brunch, empower you, and feel good about it.” I said, “Great.” We show up at this restaurant and his dad, who was in his 80s, pulls me aside and he starts talking to me about he had gone through cancer and how difficult it was to raise his family and his wife and the whole thing, and so on.

He said, “People don’t talk about their emotions and about this cancer. It’s so important what you’re doing. I’m glad you’re writing this book.” I went, “That’s great.” Also, his daughter, Jerry’s sister, pulled me aside and said, “I went through cancer. I had breast cancer Stage 3. I had surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. It changed my career. It’s had a profound and lasting effect on me and the emotional side of it is so difficult. I’m so glad that you’re doing this because people need to learn how to talk about the emotional side. I’m thinking to myself, “On the one hand, it’s so great that this big family is so close.”

On the other hand, I’m like, “I guess people do know how to deal with their emotions. I’m not going to give another thought.” At the end of that brunch, I’m talking to people. I get up and I say, “I want to thank you.” I look over at the dad and I say, “It’s not every family that talks about the emotional side of their cancer.” He puts his hands down and he does something. I go, “Huh.” I look at the daughter and I go, “You know, with you, what you went through, knowing what your dad went through, and being able to deal with the emotional side.” I go, “What?” As it turns out, neither one had talked to the other.

I said, “But you both just told me how important it is.” They go, “It is important. We just haven’t done it because we don’t know how.” He says, “I didn’t want to burden my family. I’m old school.” She says, “I don’t want to burden my father because I don’t want to make him feel guilty that he might lose a daughter. I don’t want to bring up what he might have gone through in the past.” It’s like, “That’s exactly the reason.”

It’s why you’re writing a book.

That was a wonderful reinforcer of the fact that people are not equipped to deal with the emotional side of it. Now, they eventually did and it’s a wonderful story of how and why. When I got the news that they had finally sat down to talk, laugh, cry, and deal with their emotional side of this whole thing for each of them and them together, that’s another great story in the book. It reinforced again for me how it’s not right. People don’t know how to deal with it.

I want to get a flag where a banner and say, “Therapy, therapy, therapy,” or, “Go and get some help.” Your cycling honesty transformed into a journey of emotional self-discovery for you. Where were you emotionally about June and your family at the end of your trip? What did you process? What is yet to be processed? Please share your personal healing story during this experience with us. Now, you get to be transparent.

That’s funny because my wife says, “You always brag how everybody says their story isn’t interesting, and then they start talking about you and you go, ‘My story’s not interesting.’” On the one hand, I was able to process some of that emotion. I was able to come to terms with certain things. One of the things I had to come to terms with is that I’m never going to be able to go into the past and rebuild the kind of family I wish that I would’ve been given.

I think that I always carried a chip on my shoulder about that and I let most of that go because you can’t go into the past and rewrite it. I can’t make my parents any different than they are. I can’t go in and change the way things happened. I had to let that go. I felt better about letting that go. That’s one thing I did. I think I feel like it’s okay to say that June would’ve been proud of what I’m doing and I don’t know before I did that bike ride if I would’ve allowed myself to say that. It’s a hard thing to do to give yourself a compliment like that.

However, from my world, with what I’ve been through, I know she is proud of what you’re doing. She’s around you.

I feel like I’m a little more comfortable knowing that and I try not to be driven by ego. It’s difficult. I know the book’s really good, but on the other hand, I feel awkward saying it’s good because I’m the one that wrote it.

That’s my job to say it’s good.

My editor said it’s good and she’s a tough cookie. I think what I did is I did process stuff and I let certain things go that needed to be let go. I accepted certain things that needed to be accepted and that’s all we can ask.

You have a fundraiser every year in your sister’s memory, and maybe some people are going to be touched by this interview and want to donate. Could you give us some details about that?

The best way to donate is when I interviewed everybody, and I interviewed them for a long time, I said, “Do you have a particular cancer-focused or other nonprofit that you’re committed to because I want to give 100% of the proceeds from the book to those organizations?” If you buy the book, any money that comes to me, 100% of that goes out to the different organizations that were chosen by the book participants. You’ve got NYU’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, the Moffitt Cancer Center, the American Cancer Society, and all these other great cancer wellness communities. All these great organizations that these people cared about. That’s the best way to do it.

Do they get on your website? How do they make a donation?

The Cycle Of Lives is a registered 501(c)3. We’re a nonprofit. They can buy the book through my website or make a donation to my website. What we do is we go support additional cancer-focused organizations that I come into contact with that I think are great and are doing great things. My book and my mission speak to their mission and their values. It’s a wonderful thing. There’s full transparency there. It’s wonderful. It’s CycleOfLives.org. I listed the charities that we support on that website, and they can communicate with me directly to find out more information.

GAR 106 | Cycle Of Lives

Cycle of Lives – 15 People’s Stories, 5000 Miles, and a Journey Through the Emotional Chaos of Cancer

It’s a wonderful way to memorialize someone also by giving to your charity and to your fundraiser. Is it all through CycleOfLives.org? What are the best ways to connect with you and do you have a special offer for our audience?

The best way to reach me is to contact me. It’s through the website CycleOfLives.org. It says, “Contact David,” and the email comes directly to me. You can contact me that way. As far as a special offer, I’ll tell you, I’m trying to raise money for these charities, but that’s not the only thing that matters. What matters is a bigger goal because everybody can raise money and there are a lot of people out there who will raise a lot more money than me.

I’m hoping the bigger goal is to start these conversations. If you do go to the website and you put in an order for a book, I’ll send you an eBook for free. There’s a little place you could put a code. Put the code IRENE and I’ll know what that is and I can send you a free eBook. If you don’t have the money to afford a book or you can’t buy one right now, no problem. Send me a little note in the Contact David and say, “Send me a free eBook.” I’d love to do that.

Also, you, of all people, you’ve been through so much. What is your tip for finding joy in life, David Richman?

My tip for finding joy in life is to spend whatever time you can with yourself.

To find joy in life, spend whatever time you can with yourself. Share on X

Is it self-love?

It is, and it’s a hard concept to understand because self-love is not going to a good movie or having wine with your girlfriends. That’s not self-love. It’s fun and that’s good stuff. It’s healthy, but what’s healthy, for me, and where you can find joy is being alone with yourself. Whether it’s five minutes or for me, I love going on a five-hour bike ride and just talking about things in my own head.

Also, being okay and trying to figure out how to be a better person, how to accept myself better, the things I do wrong, and the things I do well. It’ll help you become a better parent, better friend, and a better human being to yourself. I think that’s where I found the most joy in spending time with myself to try to focus on and not only accidentally go through life, but focus on how to be a better human being for me and others.

It sounds to me that from where you started, you’ve made a lot of progress in this lifetime. It’s good for you.

Thanks. It’s a long way to go. I’m a couple of steps in, but I’ll figure it out.

David, I love the hopeful tone you strike in your book Cycle of Lives, even though it’s about cancer. The book is uplifting, inspirational, and comforting. It’s also compelling and healing. I am sure that many of our audience would now want to read Cycle of Lives and will want to recommend it to others for various reasons.

Congratulations, David, on completing an incredibly challenging, courageous, and grueling journey. Riding your bike 5,000 miles coast to coast, the insights illumine via your poignant interviews and the healing you yourself experienced writing about it. Thank you from my heart for this very inspiring and very wise interview. Make sure to follow and like us on social @IreneSWeinberg on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. As I like to say, to be continued, many blessings, and bye for now.

 

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